UFC 161 goes down tomorrow night in Winnepeg, Canada and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights on the card below.
Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson
Both of these light-heavyweight veterans are coming off a loss so this is an important moment in their respective careers.
Wrestling is the foundation for both men, but I’d be surprised if we see either of them attempting to turn this into a battle for dominance on the mat as they may well end up canceling each other out. If anything look for Evans to swoop in for the occasional takedown attempt late in each round to try to catch the judges attention.
For the most part though I see this being a fairly close stand-up fight with not as much action as you might hope for as Evans plays it safe, keeping his distance and using his speed and movement to steer clear of Hendo’s devastating right hand and dart in and out with his own offense. He won’t be able to stop his granite-chinned opponent, but he should be able to rack up enough points to earn the decision.
Rashad Evans to win by decision.
Stipe Miocic vs. Roy Nelson
Moicic is a reasonably decent heavyweight who’s competitive at a certain level in the UFC, but so far hasn’t shown the kind of power in his strikes and high level wrestling required to really make a big impact at the highest level.
That’s going to make it tough against Nelson who’s remarkable durability should ensure that he absorbs whatever Miocic throws at him, while his size advantage combined with good grappling will enable him to keep the fight standing.
Miocic is more technical with his boxing, but Nelson hits very hard and doesn’t mind eating a few punches if he can land one of his own, and I think that will lead to him getting a definitive finish late in the opening round.
Roy Nelson to win by KO in Rd1.
Alexis Davis vs. Rosi Sexton
Sexton’s been somewhat of an MMA ambassador in the UK for years so it’s nice to see her get this opportunity, but it comes at a cost as she’s had to move up in weight in order to get a chance to fight in the Octagon, and given that she was already fairly small for her previous 125lb weight class, that’s a real concern.
Both ladies are at their best on the mat and it could be an intriguing battle if that’s where the fight takes them, though I suspect Davis could get the upper hand with her size advantage and dangerous submissions.
Striking is neither’s strong suit and I don’t see either getting a finish from here, but it could get scrappy as Sexton looks to try to push the pace and Davis responds in kind. Again though I’d give Davis an edge due to her size advantage. So, Davis to win, potentially by decision, but I’ll opt for her to get a second round submission.
Alexis Davis to win by submission in Rd2.
Pat Barry vs. Shawn Jordan
I’d give Barry the striking advantage in this match-up and he’ll enjoy the fact that Jordan doesn’t have too much of a height or reach advantage over him.
However, Jordan’s not completely out of his depth on the feet and holds a big advantage over Barry on the mat. He likes to utilize his wrestling to set up ground and pound opportunities, and there’s a good chance that’ll work out well for him with Barry’s ground game still being fairly flimsy.
If Jordan can get him down quickly there’s a possibility of a first round stoppage, but I’ll play it safe and say it takes him until the second to finally wear him down and get the ground and pound finish.
Shawn Jordan to win by TKO in Rd2.
Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac
Pokrajac is as tough as old boots and likes to slug it out with his opponents, but Jimmo’s more dynamic and has a bit of flair with his offensive output, so as long as he doesn’t get sucked into trading toe-to-toe I believe he’ll have the upper hand.
Both men can wrestle too, but I don’t expect to see too much of that other than some clinch work in-between the striking exchanges.
Pokrajac will be tough to finish, but I do see Jimmo emerging with his hand raised after 15 minutes of fighting.
Ryan Jimmo to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley
James Krause vs. Sam Stout
Sean Pierson vs. Kenny Robertson
Roland Delorme vs. Edwin Figueroa
Mitch Clarke vs. John Maguire
Yves Jabouin vs. Dustin Pague